While the internet is virtually an (almost) unlimted source for information about any country, it is also an overload of too much information ... that is when you need a guide to help you sort it all out. Lonely Planet does *just* *this* for anyone who is interested in visiting and touring Hungary. I have been to Hungary three times in the past five years and was delighted to discover this wonderful book. While my primary purpose was to visit relatives, the opportunity to visit historical sites and experience the culture is always foremost in my mind. Since most vacations are limited to 2, 3 or 4 weeks - you need to know where to find what interests you and make the most of your European vacation. This is the primary purpose of this book.
Lonely Planet tells you about restaurants, hotels (and their prices), entertainment, folklore events, art galleries, museums, castles, and churches, too -- giving a very good description of *nearly* everything of historical or cultural interest in the major cities and towns of Hungary. There are some very nice photographs,too. I was most impressed by their including information about transportation, buses, the metro and the trains. You are given an indespensible synopsis and outline of "what you need to know" of how to get "where you want to go." Budapest is described in vivid detail - the charm of this old world capital is evident - anyone unfamiliar with its treasures is enticied to visit. I have visited, Szekesfehervar, Veszprem, Sarvar, Szombathely, Gyor, Sumeg, Koszeg, Csesznek, Zirc, Mor, and at Lake Balaton: Siofok, Keszthely, Tihany & Badacsony -- all described beautifully for what they offer the tourist. Of note, there are highlighted boxes which give special information, hard to find elsewhere, for instance, "Herend Porcelain" is featured, giving a brief history of this art and a description of some patterns. "The Victoria pattern of butterflies and wild flwoers of the Bakony was designed for Queen Victora after she admired a display of Herend pieces at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851." (page 228)
Another major plus to this guide, is it gives an accurate, scholarly and well researched brief history of Hungary in about 10 pages. I have read recently published history books about Hungary - Lonely Planet got it right! So if you are looking for a concise, cultural, historical, educational complete guide to visiting Hungary - buy this book. My highest accolades to this guide! Erika Borsos (erikab93)